Sunday, September 01, 2013

Recommended Reading

Salon's Kim Messick tracks the evolution of the Republican party from before Nixon's much-vaunted "Southern Strategy" to now, making a pretty good case for why our continued political malaise is a result of the electoral eugenics the GOP has been practicing for the past few decades, with the fringe craziness of the Tea Party now representing Republican orthodoxy:
The cry of the hour is that our politics is “dysfunctional” — mired in “gridlock,” all bipartisanship lost. This is of course true, but it must be seen as merely the latest result of the conservative politics of purity. After all, when does a politician, in the normal course of affairs, have a reason to do something? When he thinks it will gain him a vote, or that not doing it will cost him a vote. It follows that politicians have a reason to be bipartisan — to work with the opposition — only when doing so will increase, not decrease, their electoral support. And this can only happen if they potentially share voters with their opposition. But the Republican electorate is now almost as purified as the Republican Party. Not only is it unlikely to support Democratic candidates, it’s virtually certain to punish any Republican politician who works with Democrats. The electoral logic of bipartisanship has collapsed for most Republicans; they have very little to gain, and much to lose, if they practice it. And so they don’t.
The bit I highlighted at the end was perfectly exemplified a few weeks ago with this story. I have plenty of issues with the Democrats, but it's stories like this that crystallize for me why the "pox on both their houses" mentality is so dangerously wrongheaded. There's much, much more, of course, and you can read the rest here.

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